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Heading South

Heading South (2005)



Average Rating: 6.7/10
Reviews Counted: 82
Fresh: 57 | Rotten: 25

As touching as it is disturbing, Heading South is an unconventional exploration of desire and longing, with superb performances and direction.


Average Rating: 7/10
Critic Reviews: 25
Fresh: 19 | Rotten: 6

As touching as it is disturbing, Heading South is an unconventional exploration of desire and longing, with superb performances and direction.



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Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 1,736

My Rating

Movie Info

A trio of lonely, middle-aged American women finds their growing disillusionment with stateside men leading them to seek emotional comfort and sexual gratification in the arms of young Haitian man in Time Out director Laurent Cantet's emotionally incisive adaptation of Haitian-Canadian author Dany Laferrière's acclaimed short stories. Competing for the attentions of beautiful young Haitian native Legba (Ménothy Cesar) are 55-year-old Wellesley professor Ellen (Charlotte Rampling), sexually

Feb 6, 2007


Shadow Distribution

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All Critics (87) | Top Critics (26) | Fresh (57) | Rotten (25) | DVD (6)

Exploring female desire in a way films rarely do, Heading South is a film of sometimes subtle, sometimes blunt metaphors for the interaction of rich and pauperized countries.

September 23, 2006 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The regal Rampling has never been finer, and Cesar makes his character surprisingly proud and sympathetic.

September 7, 2006 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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The film offers something unusual, a tragic spectacle of normal, recognizable and utterly sympathetic people condemning themselves.

September 1, 2006 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
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An unsettling drama by the director of two other remarkable films about class illusions, Human Resources and Time Out.

August 25, 2006 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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The movie avoids devolving into polemic by treating its characters as individuals.

August 18, 2006 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
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In its way, the film is a piercing indictment, though it makes its point without much screaming, hectoring or preening. It's quietly terrific.

August 17, 2006 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
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Displays an almost Fassbinder-like sensitivity to emotional shifts in power

August 30, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion

A trio of middle-aged white women from different backgrounds relish the tropical pleasures of '70s era Haiti, which includes local teenage gigolos, in writer/director Laurent Cantet's problematic filmic adaptation of three short stories by Dany Laferriere

April 23, 2009 Full Review Source:

What Heading South says through careful omission or brief allusion is often more interesting than what it says on the clunky surface.

June 9, 2008 Full Review Source: Paste Magazine
Paste Magazine

Erotic drama that probes lust, a police state and exploitation in the idyllic sunny climes of Haiti.

April 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

It also boasts another rich performance by Charlotte Rampling who continues to grow more interesting as an actress.

March 26, 2008

Una película lúcida y algo desconcertante sobre los deseos y fantasías de un trío de mujeres en vacaciones, con el trasfondo de la dura realidad haitiana del régimen de Duvalier.

March 22, 2007 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total
Uruguay Total

The film triumphs as a prism for intimate, personal truths.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

This fascinating flick, using physical desire as a metaphor, examines political problems plaguing Haiti in the Seventies while simultaneously exploring pleasure purely from an older woman's point-of-view.

February 4, 2007 Full Review Source: EURWeb

an intense experience

January 28, 2007 Full Review Source:

While an important message is at the movie's core, Cantet just can't find a way to make us care.

January 4, 2007 Full Review Source:

Hot sex in the Haitian sun is the main thrust of Laurent Cantet's Heading South, but melancholy and loneliness are the film's key emotions.

December 14, 2006 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

... a shot of reality disguised as an umbrella drink, and is as uncomfortable an experience as having sand stuck in your swimming suit.

November 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Okay, we'll admit that the ideal of being fawned over and adored by half-dressed men has some appeal, but this movie doesn't... sex in paradise shouldn't be this uninteresting.

November 30, 2006 Full Review Source:

Heading South opens up a fascinating world of complexities, some of which are there on the screen although others open up only once the horizon line moves past the screen's edge.

November 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

"Heading South" is more of a middling film precisely because it is so obviously tackling an issue and making a statement. As a result, the characters and the story suffer.

October 19, 2006 Full Review Source: Capital Times (Madison, WI)
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Where does Legba go when he leaves? Neither the women nor the director seem to care.

October 19, 2006 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

A compact drama boiling over with political and sexual subtext, Heading South gives us yet another opportunity to soak up the wonder that is Charlotte Rampling.

October 13, 2006 Full Review Source: Kansas City Star
Kansas City Star

Well acted (Rampling is, as always, brilliant) and well-crafted -- and it's constantly interesting, but it's finally too unfocused to attain the power it seeks.

September 20, 2006 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Cantet's chief asset here is the acting.

September 8, 2006 Full Review Source: Oregonian

Audience Reviews for Heading South

[font=Century Gothic]"Heading South" takes place in Haiti in the late 1970's where Brenda(Karen Young), a 48 year-old woman, returns after a visit three years previously where she enjoyed a tryst with a Haitian boy, Legba(Mentothy Cesar), and enjoyed her first orgasm. She stays at the same hotel and meets him again but is unpleasantly surprised to find Ellen(Charlotte Rampling), a 55 year-old professor, holding court. Ellen has spent the previous six summers at the same hotel to pay for sex with the young Haitian men who hang out at the beach. And she is not the only one...[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]"Heading South" is an ambiguous and matter-of-fact movie about the controversial subject of sex tourism. Had the American characters been men, then they would have been much less sympathetic. Here they are middle-aged women in the midst of the sexual revolution just before AIDS decimates Haiti. They are exploring their sexuality in a way that would have been impossible back home. They are balanced with the young Haitian men who engage with the women in an attempt to escape their desperate lives of poverty and repression under the brutal Duvalier regime.[/font]
July 24, 2006
Walter M.

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Foreign Titles

  • In den Süden (DE)
  • Heading South (Vers Le Sud) (UK)
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